Last week, the NC Department of Health and Human Services released the draft statewide Early Childhood Action Plan, for children ages 0 – 8. The Plan builds off of and aligns with the work of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Initiative.
The plan was developed in response to Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order in August directing DHHS to spearhead the development of a statewide early childhood plan.
DHHS’ Early Childhood Action Plan shares a bold vision for supporting young children’s health, safety, and education. NCECF and Pathways stakeholders were engaged in helping to develop the plan, which includes 10 data-informed goals focusing on child-level outcomes, including:
- Healthy Babies. Babies across North Carolina from all backgrounds will have a healthy start.
- Access to Preventive Health Services. Babies, toddlers, and young children across North Carolina will receive timely health check-ups.
- Food Security. Babies, toddlers, young children, and their families across North Carolina will have access to enough healthy food every day.
- Safe and Secure Housing. Babies, toddlers, young children, and their families across North Carolina will have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing.
- Safe and Nurturing Relationships. Babies, toddlers, and young children across North Carolina will grow up with safe and nurturing family and caregiver relationships.
- Family Stability for Children in Foster Care. Babies, toddlers, and young children in the foster care system across North Carolina will grow up in stable, permanent families.
- Social Emotional Well-Being and Resilience. Babies, toddlers, and young children across North Carolina will express, recognize, and manage their emotions in a healthy way.
- Access to High Quality Early Learning Programs. Babies, toddlers, and young children across North Carolina will have access to high quality opportunities to engage in early learning.
- Early Childhood Development. Young children across North Carolina will enter Kindergarten developmentally on-track.
- Grade-Level Reading. Young children across North Carolina will read on grade-level in elementary school.
The Plan proposes data indicators for each goal, which align with the Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success. DHHS also sets a quantitative target for improvement for each goal. For example: By 2025, increase the percentage of income-eligible children enrolling in high-quality early care across North Carolina by 10%.
- The plan will be available for review and comment by the public between now and Nov. 30. You can provide feedback by Nov. 30 by email to ECAP@dhhs.nc.gov.
- DHHS will conduct listening sessions during November in communities across the state to gather feedback.
- After DHHS has reviewed public input on the draft, the Department will coordinate with the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council to make revisions, including detailed recommendations for statewide and local strategies, for a full release in early 2019.
- NCECF will work closely with the Department to ensure that the strategic work of the Pathways to Grade Level Reading action teams and stakeholders continues to inform the Early Childhood Action Plan as strategies for action are determined.